So, I'll be among the first to admit that the name I go by in real life is a bit confusing. People are sometimes unsure how to say it. People sometimes think I am Asian before meeting me. A few, let's call them initiated, know that it's a Welsh shortened form of a very popular name. I'm ok with this, as it often leads to a much more interesting first conversation that I would have with most people. Sure, there was the guy named, I kid you not, France who asked me when introduced to me "What sort of name is that?" in a tone that was both condescending and incredulous. His implication, I can only assume is that it's normal for parents from Bluffdale, UT to name their children after geogrpahic entities (his brother's name was Platte and he had a sister Paris), but my name was simply beyond the pale.
All this being said, it still is a little disconcerting to receive, in answer to an email about whether a job is still open, a missive that opens "Ms. [my last name]." I'm going to chalk this one up to the overwhelming majority of women in my field and not, say, a feminine turn to my phrasing. I guess, when in doubt, assume a uterus in library land.
So, I'll be among the first to admit that the name I go by in real life is a bit confusing. People are sometimes unsure how to say it. People sometimes think I am Asian before meeting me. A few, let's call them initiated, know that it's a Welsh shortened form of a very popular name. I'm ok with this, as it often leads to a much more interesting first conversation that I would have with most people. Sure, there was the guy named, I kid you not, France who asked me when introduced to me "What sort of name is that?" in a tone that was both condescending and incredulous. His implication, I can only assume is that it's normal for parents from Bluffdale, UT to name their children after geogrpahic entities (his brother's name was Platte and he had a sister Paris), but my name was simply beyond the pale.
Posted by alea at 12:45 PM
I just handed in my last assignment for this semester. I think I'll pass all my courses. Which means I'm unofficially three-fourths of a librarian. Now, I just need to clean my entire apartment (something I've neglected these past few weeks), pack my bags, have meetings with both supervisors (one should be good, the other iffy), work two more shifts and then I get a month off from all committments. Huzzah!
Posted by alea at 10:23 PM
It's the end of the semester. I'm pretty sure I'll get the worst marks I ever have this time around. This is based on: a teacher who has marked me low for no real reason in one course; another (online) course for which I was hoping to slide by on my charm (sadly my charm is less evident electronically); sleeping in on the day I was supposed to critique a student's presentation and the slapdash group work we turned in for a third course; and in my last course I should eke out an ok mark (say A or A-, depending on how much he bought the Five Wise Virgin Church). I still have a really stupid assignment for my online course to complete (Israeli comics, anyone?) and a project to plan a library space that is worth 50% of my mark for the course. I'm a little stressed, a little despondent (though in no way because of fondant), and a touch panicky. I'm sure it'll all get done...eventually. Or by Friday, as the case may be.
Here is the current question that has forestalled work on my assignments: When making a references list, how do you alphabetize items that are written with non-Roman alphabets? Thoughts?
Currently, I'm listing them after the English titles, in Jewish letters* according the alef-bet order of things. But surely there's a rule here that I just don't know. I don't want to Romanize because then the teacher will know I'm just talking out of my hat when I discuss Israeli works. But the Hebrew is awkward (not to mention that copying and pasting from websites ends up with flipped letters due to the different directions of reading).
On a lighter note, I got to learn that English isn't the only language that uses organ as a euphemism for a certain piece of male bodies. However, due to Hebrew's wacky semantic overlaps (too few words, too many meanings), this same word means limb. And yes, it is sometimes used in the phrase אבר חםשי /eveʀ xamiʃi/ (fifth limb).
*the alphabet that Hebrew is written in is called Jewish letter to not privilege Hebrew over Yiddish.
Posted by alea at 11:24 AM
Yesterday, I was in a car en route to the Legislature Building to hear some singing. In said vehicle was me, my friend, his defacto girlfriend, and the df/gf's roommate. Almost entirely out of the blue, the roommate asks, "What would it take for you guys to use a man purse?" I chuckle, point to the one currently around my neck and say, "not very much, apparently."
She later wanted to dissect my owning of a purse, as if I needed to explain myself. Can't a guy just want to carry a bag? My friend disputed that what I carry (see picture) is actually a purse. Which, of course, led us to a discussion of the features of a purse. He claimed that my bag is too butch to be a purse (and we all know I am the embodiment of butch). He was opting for satchel (which always makes me think of bindle for some reason). I stand firm in my calling it a purse. It's even marketed by Eagle Creek as being "built and designed specifically for women and how they travel." If that's not a purse, I don't know what is.
Posted by alea at 2:53 PM
Despite my total lack of reasonable native speaker intuitions, I really think the author of this webpage screwed up. Jeff Benedict recently published the book The Mormon Way of Doing Business. Let's look past all the problems we have with such an idea and head right to this paragraph:
What do the CEOs of JetBlue Airways, Dell Computers, Delloite & Touche, and Madison Square Garden have in common with the CFO of American Express and the former Dean of Harvard Business School? As shown in this one-of-a-kind business book, they are all devout Mormons. They rarely work Sundays, come home for dinner, and do chores around the house. Yet, they compete very successfully against workaholics who routinely put in seventy to eighty hour weeks.(emphasis added)
Does that sentence not seem to imply that all three things are done infrequently? I guess the "and" conjunction might tilt things the other way (it'd be "or" if all were truly modified). Surely the author wants to highlight that they do come home for dinner and do do chores around the house (he fails to mention that all men also have stay-at-home wives, but that's beside the point here). There's at least some ambiguity going on here and people who read quickly online might get the wrong idea. Unless he's suggesting that Mormons don't work Sundays, are chauvinists and are successful business men. That'd be a more interesting book, don't you think?
Posted by alea at 4:39 PM
Petra posted a humorous take on Follow the Prophet if we were using the Qur'an as our holy book. Something that's always made me wonder about that song (besides the cultic, chanting effect it produces) is why is all Bible prophets? Why nobody from the BoM? Or better yet, Latter-day prophets? Since I'm clearly not above running with, read stealing, a good idea (and because coming up with these was way more interesting than listening to what my Stake President thought was truth but veered a bit close to false doctrine for me), here's some ones I came up with today.
Note: They also show why I'll never be in charge of any Church-produced material.
Brigham was a prophet, Lion of the Lord.
Against fornicators he would wield a sword.
He led us to Zion, where the stakes did grow.
He taught God was Adam, th'only one we know.
Wilford was in trouble for polygamy
So he stopped the practice in, at least, theory.
Then the evil Congress couldn't steal our lands.
Now we are embarrassed by the fundie bands.
When Lorenzo travelled way down to Dixie
He received a vision how to raise money.
Now we pay our tithing so that we won't burn
And to use the temple, where all things we learn.
Heber was in power nearly thirty years.
He made it essential that we don't drink beers.
He valued sticking with from baseballs to song.
If we take his lead then we cannot go wrong.
McKay ran the kingdom as it grew threefold
But for negro Priesthood wasn't very bold.
He ran Correlation, stealing women's power.
We have him to thank for Sunday School's hour.
Spencer love the Indians, raised the Priesthood ban,
thought that Cain was Bigfoot, served his fellow man.
Hoffmann may have tricked him, but we all were fooled.
In his book he taught that passions should be cooled.
Ere the Lord called Benson, we used other books.
Now the Book of Mormon captures all our looks.
He was very right wing, called the women home.
He was in the Cabinet, overseeing loam.
Hunter only lasted nine months at the head.
So he couldn't do much before he was dead.
Much like Lee before him, we haven't much to say.
Just for out-surviving, we praise them today.
Hinckley is our leader and no kind of fraud.
He bulit mini-temples to bless Saints abroad.
He visits all the world, shows them that he cares
and is seen on t.v., every couple years.
And if we want to reach back into the Bible what about:
Miriam with Aaron was a source of strife
When she questioned Moses on his choice of wife.
God made her a leper for this evil deed.
Let this be a lesson: women should not lead.
Anna wasn't young when Jesus Christ was born.
Recognizing Him when His foreskin was shorn
Made her get a mention by the doctor Luke.
She's another witness and not just a kook.
Posted by alea at 2:30 PM
One thing that continues to flummox me is the popularity of The Da Vinci Code. It's not particularly well written, the ideas are interesting for about two weeks and it does less to question "traditional Christianty" than about any other current controversy (such as intelligent design v. evolution) or long-standing flaw (e.g. how can a loving God inflict pain on his children). So, while I don't get it, I can still be appalled by some things. Like the publication of The Guide to Dan Brown's The Solomon Key. Some authors would hold off until the work they are supposedly explicating is, oh, published. But not Greg Taylor, he knows that he's gotta cash in now or else he'll miss out on Dan Browns next "bestseller" (also isn't it odd to refer to a book that isn't even at the publishing house as a bestseller?).
It gets even wackier, though, when we move to the Jello Belt. The following is a press release from Cedar Fort about its recent publication The Dynasty of the Holy Grail: Mormonism's Sacred Bloodline:
SPRINGVILLE—Amazing new book coming soon on Mormonism’s relationship to the Grail phenomenon.
Rather than being just a "quickie" book on a hot topic, Dr. Vern G. Swanson has produced a thoughtful book on the topic of the Holy Grail and the bloodline of Jesus. After reading nearly 400 books on the Holy Grail, his perspective has grown through the 28 years he has researched and written on the question.
Going far beyond the mortally flawed best-sellers, `Holy Blood, Holy Grail' and `The Da Vinci Code' his epic book should be applicable to both Mormon and non-Mormon audiences. It is certainly the most significant scholarly tome on the Holy Grail and the bloodline yet written.
Ok, so the last line there is laughable, and what do they mean by "mortally flawed"? Morally flawed, perhaps? But wait! it gets better when you read the Des News story about the work. In summary, what we have as a thesis is that Joseph Smith, Jr. descended from Mary Magdalene through his mother and directly from Jesus through his father. Thus, Joseph Smith was uniquely born to restore the Gospel and could bring an end to the Ephraim (Mary) and Judah (Jesus) contention. All this reminds me of the guy who claimed in my historical linguistics class that Indo-European in general and English in particular were the best vehicles for restoring the Gospel. In essence, a possible and perhaps vaguely interesting assertion but really without much merit.
In that Des News article the author is quoted as claiming:
If Jesus had children they would be "robust," but would lack the power over death that LDS people believe Christ had. It would take about three generations for the godly attributes of Christ to be absorbed into the gene pool with the exception of the Y chromosome that came from Christ and the mitochondrial DNA, which came through Mary Magdelene.
Where does this 3 generation idea come from? Has Bro. Swanson had the chance to explore what divine DNA looks like? Has he run experiments? If not, his belief is not only groundless but borderline crazy. If this is based on some more generalized theory (like it takes three generations to dillute such and so...), this also fails because it assumes that godly chromosomes act just like the rest of the nucleic acids.
I just don't get these people. Or the obsession with the Holy Grail. It seems like warnings against gospel hobbies would have stopped the work on this book, but I guess the theory was more important to this brother than following the advice of prophets (I guess this depends how strongly you believe BKP and BRM are prophets). Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get back to reading my lastest Mormocentric purchase: Life Everlasting, a "scholarly" work about the afterlife in LDS theology based on near-death experiences. It's ok, you see, because I feel guilty about my hobbies.
Posted by alea at 8:30 PM
So, during my instruction class today, a guy gave a session on Boolean operators. He asked for two topics, any two topics to be search. Someone yelled out "salt and pepper!" He used these terms. Oddly, in the NEOS library catalogue when you enter salt or pepper as a keyword all fields search, the first 20 results are really Mormocentric. (I've bolded the titles, for those of you that can't spot all of them at sight).
The videos are all owned by the local Lutheran Institution (which makes me wonder about their curricular value...do I smell a research project?)
- They built with faith : true tales of God's guidance in L.D.S. chapel building worldwide
- Sperry Symposium classics : the New Testament
- Recapitulation (Stegner, Wallace Earle, 1909-1993)
- Personal voices : a celebration of Dialogue
- David Matthew Kennedy : banker, statesman, churchman
- Life in Christ (Millet, Robert)
- Terrestrial vertebrates of tidal marshes : evolution, ecology and conservation
- On the way home. [videorecording]
- The lamb of God [videorecording]
- Together forever [videorecording]
- Our heavenly Father [videorecording]
- Family first [videorecording]
- Temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- Mormon claims answered
- The truth about "the God makers"
- SALT (Serving and Learning Together) 2001-2002
- Salt, light, and signs of the time : the life and times of Alfred M. (Rip) Rehwinkel
- Life goals : how to discover and achieve your own
- Web search garage [electronic resource]
Additionally, bonus points to anyone who can frame a situation in which exclusive or (XOR) could be used for database searching [it finds items that contain (A or B) but not (A and B)]. See diagram, below.
Posted by alea at 12:59 PM
Today is Stake Conference, the epitome of the Freeby (freebee? freebie?) Sunday. So, instead of trying to find out a way to get to the wardhouse where I could catch the broadcast from Salt Lake, I went to a Quaker Meeting. En route, I actually passed a Stake Center and briefly considered hopping off the bus to catch the prophet speaking. But, I've heard him before and I've never been to a Society of Friends meeting. Both are PETS, so I errored on the side of novelty.
So, I get to the location (not a church, they actually meet in L'Arche Centre) and the door is locked. But, there's a sign suggesting that it's the right spot. After about thirty seconds of standing outside peering into the window, a guy comes up and opens the door with a hint of hestitation. He has the sort of wide-eyed expression that could mean low-level crazy but probably just means he's socially awkward.
"Looking for the Quakers?" he asks, to which I respond affirmatively. He then opens the door wide so I can enter and remove my shoes. He doesn't offer up where I should go, so I stand a moment until he starts walking and I follow him. We enter a room that has awesome 1970s green carpet, a strange mural of the stations of the cross and that musty smell that I associate with non-Mormon churches and grandparents' homes. The room has about a dozen chairs in a half-hearted attempt at a circle. I sit down as "silent worship" has already begun.
The Quaker worship service is a bit different than most Christian groups. First, you need to know that there is no clergy or even anyone in charge, all are equal. Decisions are made by consensus alone. Their meetings consist of three parts: silent worship, worship sharing and a final, more social aspect that doesn't have a name. For silent worship, you sit in silence (and apparently from the others' examples try to avoid eye contact). If you are overwhelmed by something that should be shared you share it. If not, you maintain silence. This part went on for about 45 mins. Two people gave comments, each lasting about thirty seconds.
I don't really understand the difference between this and the second part. It was inaugurated when one Friend said, "Friends, it is now time for worship sharing." We were silent still. Another two piped up here for about thirty seconds. So, all in all, I spent an hour in the company of ten or so strangers with only two minutes of talk. Worship sharing ended with us standing and holding hands in a circle briefly. Then, the cookies and coffee were trotted out (why hasn't Mormonism kept this sectarian tradition?) and some business was transacted.
The group makeup was pretty much what I expected. A couple of men in their early thirties that appear to be a touch antisocial, two or so women of the same age, a single family with their five year-old son, and the rest of the people were in their seventies (at least). Strangely, most of the elderly people were British. Maybe the sect does better in the UK?
Overall, the experience was interesting but not spiritual. It was restful but not regenerating. The idea of worshipping together in silence is intriguing, but I don't know that my own thoughts could sustain me for that long. I did not get antsy, but I just kept coming back to the same ideas and had very little stimulus to nudge me out of them. Plus, sitting in a circle with a group of people and avoiding looking at them would be taxing.
Here's how I'd break down the experience:
the group is welcoming: 4 out of 5
the visitor can follow what's going on: 5 out of 5
the visitor feels comfortable: 4 out of 5 (depends on your comfort level with silence, also)
the group tried to convert the visitor: 1 out of 5 ("I hope you'll come back" with a smile was as assertive as they got)
I felt spiritually fed: 2 out of 5
Posted by alea at 5:48 PM
I like Arby's, actually. Every now and again. Though, I should learn that their "cheese" they use for their melts makes me sick. And may mean I'll have to dash from the middle of watching The Queen (which I found good, but not superb. mostly it made me realize how weird all these people who were going crazy about Princess Diana really were). I hate leaving the theatre during a movie. But I also hate more the consequences of not leaving the theatre in these scenarios. Many more hedons were produced by exit than by staying.
So before the movie, I ate at Arby's. They have two specials going on right now: two bacon cheddar melts for $5 or two sourdough bacon melts for $5. At the "restaurant" I dined at, there's this big sign that reads "2 for $5 Sourdough Bacon Melts" and then over in the corner it reads "Choose any combination of both sandwiches". Ok, now based on this signage alone, I assume they meant you could have one bacon and cheddar and one sourdough bacon melt. I mean, each sandwich evidently costs $2.50, so no problem, right?. Apparently, this is not the case. They have a ham sourdough melt and a beef sourdough melt. Nowhere on this sign does it state as much. Given the added complexity that fast food menu writers have decided it's best to only show combos these days and to not list, oh, what's actually served separately, it exacerbates the confusion greatly. (No combos involve sourdough bacon melts.)
I go up to the counter and ask if I can get one b&c and one sourdough melt for five bucks. The guy says (in his thick Indian accent) "no, the beef and cheddar is completely separate." I rejoinder with "but the sign says any combination of both." He repeats the fact that b&c is b&c and sourdough is sourdough and ne'er the twain shall meet. He does not however offer up the bit about there being two kinds of sourdough melts, so I have to ask him. He then tells me about the ham option. I go with two sourdough melts (both beef. it's kosher, you know). It was poor signage and worse customer service. Granted, with Alberta's current economy the only people working in fast food are immigrants with questionable English (and probably more sketchy rights to work legally) and 14 year old boys (yes, it is always boys. why don't the preteen girls in that socioeconomic group work? do you think they would more so if McDonald's had daycare?)
Here's what boggles my mind though: Given you have two beef- and cheddar-based sandwiches. Given both are being sold as part of a two for five scheme. Prove that it makes sense, economically or otherwise, to only allow customer to order one variety. Also, at what time will the trains collide?
I'd not recommend the sandwich. It's on bread that is made to look toasted without actually being toasted. A bad sign. There is very little meat and the bacon is not strips of bacon but bacon bits (real bacon bits, but still...). Overall, it was a disappointment, like everything else that comes my way. My life, after all, is so hard.
Posted by alea at 1:33 PM
For those of you who don't live, breathe, and eat libraries, you may not be familiar with the recent cause célèbre of the student who was tasered (why don't we say tased?) by campus cops at UCLA. Supposedly, during a routine id check of night owls in a computer lab, Mostafa Tabatabainejad refused to provide his student card. This led to police asking him to leave, and then some touching, a yell or two from Mr. Tabatabainejad and then, at least four taser blasts to "subdue" him (including one that was allegedly administered after he was handcuffed). Some students caught it with their cellphones (which must be the bane of all abusive cops these days) and have spread it around. YouTube has one video. You can't so much see the problem as hear it, but you get an idea.
I have so many questions about this incident. Before I get to those, please remember that I am not a racist, despite what I sometimes claim to think. And keep in mind that using a taser on a human is ethically questionable to begin with in my mind, so the question is not "should he have been tasered?" but rather "was force of some sort justified?" So here goes: was it actually racial profiling as Mostafa claims? Or was he doing something that might look suspicious? Why do police need id for late night studiers? Does this preventative measure do anything? Especially if the space is crowded, as it appears to have been. Do they only want students using machines, is that their problem? If so, why? Did he need to yell when his arm was grabbed?
My major question though (and proof that I am a. rule bound, b. eager to think good of authority and c. not going to be one to ever yell "to the barricades!") is why didn't he just show id when asked? Even if there is racial profiling, even if the purpose is questionable, even if the method solves nothing, why not just pony up the card? Did he have his card with him? It seems a minor inconvience, especially knowing now that the end result of not playing along is shocks. Real, electrical shocks.
Posted by alea at 1:36 PM
I just learned today that last Sunday (not yesterday, but the one prior), I was apparently a reason for discussion. I bore my testimony. Ok, now that all have recovered from the shock that a. I have a testimony and b. I got up to share it, we can move on. I got up and my typical testimony (which always included a strong witness of prayer and the love of our Heavenly Father). But I started it out like this:
Recently, I was feeling very nostalgic and so was reading my journal. I was shocked to be reminded of all the crises of faith I had when I was a teenager. I thought God didn't exist and the Church was a scam and so on. It's surprising for me to contrast that with me now. I'm not saying I've had a major vision or anything, just the accretion of belief. So, I want to bear my testimony of the Gospel. I don't want to imply that I don't have any doubts, because I do. There's lots of the gospel I don't understand or agree with and even more that I don't like. But I believe the bulk of it.
I then went on to bear my testimony. Some of my friends in the ward told me that I caused some talk (which means I probably caused a lot of talk, since some came back to this set that are not the most uptight of believers). One girl thought it was inaccurate to bear testimony of the Gospel and say there's parts I don't understand or believe as if the Gospel is one cohesive chunk of taffy and you can't digest pieces at a time. Others just thought my testimony was inappropriate because I didn't rely on forumalae. Well, granted that's not how they protrayed their idea, but the essential point is that my testimony was unusual.
This really pisses me off for several reasons. First of all, I have the terrible vision of a becoming another project, like was beginning to happen at the end of my stay at Alpine Apts (granted, I was semi-inactive then, but still...). Secondly, it suggests that my ward only wants cookie-cutter testimonies and therefore simplistic members. It implies that faithful doubt or honest spirituality is something akin to disbelief and should not be the stance of the church attendee. Or maybe you can be that, just by all means don't share with us. We'd rather have the guy who makes non sequitor, obnoxious jokes and claims to love everyone in ward. Now, there's a testimony. But saying the church is true with no qualifiers is problematic because the statment doesn't really map to reality in any meaningful way (i.e. it asserts nothing) and causes problems with unchanging truth since the church as the application of the gospel changes, while the gospel proper does not.
The main reason I got upset with the fact that my testimony caused a stir is that I firmly disagree with the notion of a solid, packaged Gospel. There are problems with this. It claims that we have all truth (not so) and that nothing should trouble us spiritually. It also means we cannot gain testimony of certain principles and add it to our overall picture. Rather, we believe all things or we believe nothing. I really think there are going to be things that we, as individuals, will never fully come to terms with in this life. That doesn't make us evil. As long as we've got the bulk correct and do our duty, these wrinkles will be ironed in the hereafter. As negative as the image of a salad bar believer is, I really think that's how we should approach our gospel learning. You take a bunch of parts you know and love and add to it over time. It only gets better and better as you go. But just because all you've got is lettuce, carrots and crutons doesn't mean you shouldn't bear testimony or that you don't actually believe what you're saying. If you already know everything where's the room for faith? Does faith not require a degree of doubt a sense that you may be wrong?
No wonder people who don't feel perfect leave the church. We're crafting a religious experience with set parameters. I really wonder what Joseph thinks about this. He so strongly disliked creeds and other forms of set belief. I wonder if he's upset with the de facto stipulations those that claim to support his theology have organized. I'm not him, so I can't say, but I do know that it bothers me. And I'm almost as good as the Prophet of the Restoration, right?
Posted by alea at 1:27 PM
And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none--and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance.--2 Nephi 28.22
Satan is a tricky guy (who may or may not be attractive and have a girlfriend…can anyone explain to me the Mormon obsession with questions like these?). He’s got a whole bag of tricks. To some, as Nephi taught, he tells them there’s no hell and that gets them to misapply knowledge. Nephi also claimed he lures others away into carnal security. They then become flabby spiritually and are lead “carefully down to hell”. Nephi’s discourse goes into other ways and means by which man can sin. We can get angry at the truth of God and thus rage against it. We may become self-satisfied and say we have enough (theological certitude). Or we can put our trust in man. Lastly, according to Nephi, we can be born into the wrong lineage (though what Nephi means by Gentiles and what LDS mean by Gentiles is different. Does that make his weird closing statement any better, though?)
My purpose here isn’t to recount all the manners of the devil’s deceit that Nephi listed. It’s to point out another one that I couldn’t find in the scriptures. It’s not because I think I’m particularly unique. Rather, I think most people who are entrusted with sacred books (excluding some of the men of Omni) aren’t so easily beset with sin as I am. Therefore, the whole idea may be foreign to them. It’s this: And to others, he telleth to commit a sin, and saith they will escape a greater sin thereby.
I won’t go into the details here (is it a p.t. if it’s still current?), but I fell into this pattern this week. I convinced myself (probably with the help of a certain disembodied spirit brother) that if I did x, it would keep me from doing y, which in turn would mean I’d not sink to z. Logically it makes sense. I understand my sinful nature and know that I’ll mostly not be able to avoid iniquity. So, why burst into flames by jumping to z? Instead, I can just do x, which probably doesn’t even require confession. Just a matter of contrition and some forsaking (and yes, I understand that this mocks the expiation and that contrition planned in advanced probably lack conviction and that thinking this probably makes x appear a bit too much like the older understanding of denying the Holy Ghost.) Unfortunately what is logical and consistent is not always true. Also, sadly, I don’t really understand my sinful nature. Instead of x acting as a steam valve, it set off a starter pistol. So I found myself the next day looking for x+1, which approaches, but does not reach, y (I considered a limit statement here, but I’m not that nerdy.) Fortunately, I pulled out of my tailspin before toppling over the cliff into a torment of disappointment (Mormon hell).
Suffice it to say, this tactic of Satan is convincing to me. It’s convincing but it’s false. I think it’s so convincing because it allows me to both sin and resist temptation. I’m having my guilt and beating it too. Like my description of testimony bingo to a fellow ward member last Sunday, I can be both righteous and wicked. Satan wants to set up a division in my nature so I’m not a unitary being fighting a good fight, but a natural man and an adopted saint. Unfortunately for all involved, he usually prevails, and if he manages to fully split my soul, he’ll win for sure. Brigham Young taught, “we know enough to damn us. And when we know enough for that, we know enough to save us, if our knowledge is improved upon.” I guess I know enough to damn me. I’m just not convinced that improving on that knowledge is worth the effort.
(Odd note: LDS Collectors Library lists the scriptures in this order: Book of Mormon, D&C, PoGP, New Testament, Old Testament, JST-New Testament, JST-Old Testament. Hmm…exposing their own bias, perhaps?)
Posted by alea at 1:30 PM
Here Neil Simon gives us the world’s greatest detectives at their most stereotypical pitted against one another to solve a most dastardly plot. The conceit wears a bit thin over the course of the film, especially if, like me, you’re not that into Nick & Nora, Sam Spade, Charlie Chan, und so weiter. And the twists and turns are either glaringly obvious or off-puttingly offbeat. However, the one-liners are definitely worth the ninety-five minutes of playing time. Plus, you get the added bonus of the final rant against mystery novels (which neatly encapsulates why they frustrate me). To really seal the deal, it stars David Niven, Maggie Smith, Peter Falk, Peter Sellers, and Alec Guinness (among others). Not to mention Truman Capote as the insane mastermind. Yes, that Truman Capote, in all his short-bodied, high-voiced glory. Seriously check it out. And then you’ll understand the lovely line by Dick Charleston: “Saved only by the fact that I am enormously well-bred.”
Posted by alea at 4:05 PM
On Wednesday, I had a really bad day. Nothing really brought this on and nothing could seem to make it better. I felt a bit put upon, having to go to school to meet with my advisor, who is a supremely kind man but lacking in some essential social skills (such as how to signal that a conversation is completed). I was frustrated that it was only November 1st and already sitting around -8° C. I was pissed off about having to buy a bus pass for the month, which was part of the larger irritation that I don't have a car here. I had a headache. I signed into my online course to see nearly 200 messages I was supposed to read, knowing full well I didn't care about 86% of them (I'm not entirely convinced schools need librarians. Oh, and librarians may be the most undereducated profession in the world). I had been at work until midnight the night before, feeling completely unnecessary after about 9.45. Oh, and on Tuesday I turned in what may very well be the worst assignment of my library school career, which is saying a lot if it outranks some of the other inane things I've done here.
All these are the typical worries of my days (after all, my foundational narrative is "my life is so hard"), and therefore don't get me down too often. But something about the day just really laid me out. It registered in what my friend termed the "constantly disgusted face" I kept making. My mood also became clear after I saw Running with Scissor and called it funny while my colleague thought it was "so depressing". I was definitely a tourist in Schadenfreudeland (the papers for my resident visa have yet to come through).
At any rate, all this whinging is adding up to something. I was doing dishes later that night (doing housework always makes me feel slightly better. how creepy 50s-wife-of-an-abusive-alcoholic is that?), and came to my cheese grater. I was soaping it up and got a flash in my mind of the scene from The Backslider where Frank takes the skin off the back of his hand. I momentarily considered scraping my thumb the against the holes to draw blood. I stopped myself because, well frankly, I'm not crazy. This flash, though, reminded me of Frank's vision of the cowboy Jesus and the question He asks the flesh-is-weak protaganist:
"Why can't you believe my blood was enough?" Jesus said. "Why do you have to shed yours too?"
I'm not suggesting that everything was ok after remembering the Expiation. Far from it. I still have to face another semester of library school. The winter will still be cold. And I'll still fall short of the glory of God and so on and so on. But, I like remembering good books. And The Backslider is definitely one of those. Oh, and I really like what Jesus did, blah, blah, blah.
Posted by alea at 5:30 PM
Is the picture above offensive? If so, to whom? (my conservative Mormon library colleague, as opposed to the more lax Mormon, found it extremely troubling. But then, she didn't know the original words to the hymn.) I don't see it as offensive, but then, I've lost all ability to judge such things.
Are Mormons charismatic Christians? Why or why not?
Posted by alea at 11:19 PM
It would not be unusual to go trick-or-treating in -8°C (17.6°F) weather. Your costume would be ruined what with long johns, a coat or snowpants involved. I'd feel more sorry for the little blighters if they weren't getting free candy.
(and yes, this is technically only reason it would suck, but I think some of the others are obvious and therefore need not be shared.)
Posted by alea at 12:41 PM
This girl sitting next to me in class today has come back to library school after getting her PhD in English. I think it's a sad state of affairs when roughly nine years of schooling does not prepare to actually give back to society. However, that is not the point here. The point is that she and her ilk are the source of everything wrong with prescriptivists today. During the lecture, she leaned over to me and said, "I hate split infinitives." We were reading a strategic plan (yes, I do hate library school) that said something like "to successfully meet the needs of the community". As all actually educated (as opposed to degreed) people know, there is no real reason to not split infinitives in English. Thankfully, the stupid rule is appears to gradually be dying. My only wish would be for it to completely disappear. I want to not hear it any more. Sadly, if college professors continue to incorrectly teach this rule, their students will think they need to assiduously avoid it. And since this woman stands credentialed to teach English on a university level, she will force her students to blindly follow a obsolete rule.
All is lost. We are all going to painfully die. Or at least, our English will suffer.
Posted by alea at 1:17 PM
Like Borges, I have always figured "el Paraíso bajo la especie de una biblioteca". In my effort to make a little heaven on earth, I read quite a bit. Not so much recently, which I can't quite figure out, though I'm tenetively blaming school (despite lack of evidence that it really is what's keeping me busy). I just finished The Human Factor, my eleventh Graham Greene novel, last night. It was one of those experiences where you get to the end and keep flipping pages for the happy resolution, the glimpse into a life that does not end in naught but pain, anguish, and separation from loved ones. But, being a Graham Greene novel and not, say, a Jane Green novel, there was no missing section. Life really does suck. Oh, and I will die alone.
I recently had a realization that, despite my constant search for good lighthearted literary fare a la Sedaris, what I really go in for is the sort of fiction that leaves me drained emoitionally. That makes even the large bag of chocolate covered peanuts that has been my main source of nourishment this weekend look pointless (and all readers here are intimately aware of my sweetooth). And that generally confirms my bleak outlook on life, relationships and my prospects at happiness. Is this perverse?
I just really get off on the emptiness these novels leave inside of me. Though I guess it's not really stealing piece of my soul but perhaps removing some the clutter I accumulate by watching vapid tv, interacting with stupid people, and sitting through entire class sessions dedicated to "passion and leadership". There are times when the impact seems unmanageable. Like when I was reading Remains of the Day and had to actually set the book aside so I could literally curl up in a ball on my bed, moan and rock from side to side. It crucified me, much like the series finale of Six Feet Under. But all these experience have an element of the spiritual in it for me. Of course, being a total emotional masochist doesn't hurt.
All this might be a preamble to books that have crushed alea's soul (now if this isn't the strangest booktalk you've ever seen, I'll be surprised). Obviously not a comprehensive list here, but perhaps the highlights. Please note, there is no intended ranking scheme here.
- Remains of the Day by Ishiguro
- Atonement by McEwan
- Jude the Obscure by Hardy
- Talking it Over and Love, etc. by Barnes (and the first section of England, England)
- Graham Greene's Catholic Quartet*: The Power and the glory, The End of the Affair, Brighton Rock, Heart of the Matter
- The Bell by Murdoch
- The Accidental by Smith
- A Little Lower than the Angels by Sorensen (every Mormon should read this novel)
*anyone on the lookout for a good band name could do a lot worse than GGCQ.
Posted by alea at 8:36 PM
This last Saturday I was sitting at work, trying to find historical data on Alberta's unemployment rate for an im client(I was unsuccessful in the end, since StatsCan doesn't seem to want you to get free access to their Labour Force Survey. ugh.). To understand this story, you'll need to know that I work in an information commons (read, fancified computer lab). It's got one large room with loads of computers (200-something) and then a smaller room off one side that isn't really separate but it set off (imagine the shape of the state of Utah). From the desk, I cannot see into this smaller room. Also, the nature my work area means that people are allowed to talk (or as my boss would say "collaborate"), eat, play games or otherwise use the space as they see fit. All this background is essential to understanding what happens next.
This lady came up to the desk. I've seen her here before. She's what the politically correct would call a "nontraditional" or "returning" student. All my interactions with her have made me sense she's a bit off. Nothing serious, just slightly differently socialized than what I'm used to. At any rate, she comes up and says, "There's got to be a place on campus to pray. I mean, this area's meant to be nondenominational, right? I guess, what I mean is it appropriate for people to pray here?" I look up and her and try to figure out what she's getting at. Does she want me to give her the go-ahead to pray? directions to the on-campus chapel? I waited maybe five seconds. Fortunately, no immediate response caused her to state more clearly as she pointed to the smaller room, "there's a guy back there doing a Muslim prayer. Don't you think that's inappropriate? This isn't a church...or a Mosque. Will you come tell him to stop?"
At this point, my heart starts pounding. We have some crazies that frequent our area and spend all day wasting time online (or asking for help deleting the porn from their iPod*) and I initially thought one of these guys might be causing a problem. I get up and walk back to the area with her. I get back there and, of the fifteen computers, two are in use: hers and another guys. I don't see the guy she's complaining about at first because he's kneeling down. Then he stands up. He's being perfectly silent, and is way back up to one corner so as not to be near anybody else. It was here that I had to really, really refrain from bursting out with "are you serious?!" Because he was doing nothing that seemed inappropriate to me.
Here comes the uncomfortable part: how do you tell this woman that she's crazy without making it sound like that? Still a little flustered, I told her that it didn't seem inappropriate to me, that he'll probably be done in a moment anyway and that, if it really bothered her, she could move to another area (the place was not that crowded). She was displeased. She came back to "this isn't a mosque. I wouldn't go into a church and start using my computer." I repeated myself with a shrug and an apology. She countered, "I don't think I should have to move, I'm already booted up." Another noncommittal statement and shrug from me. Finally, she said, "fine, don't do anything. It's not right, though."
I went back to my desk, queasy and uncertain if I handled this patron correctly. I emailed my boss the situation and soon afterwards was off. On Monday, in class, my coworker who came after me told me that, as this lady was leaving, she returned to the desk. She again explained frustration with my response and asked, "are you going to bring this up at your next staff meeting? There ought to be a policy." She then proceeded to try and get my coworker (the daughter and sister of ministers) to agree that the guy was out of line. I guess this went on for a while, becoming increasingly racist. Her closing line was "Osama hasn't taken over yet, y'know."
This lady needs to chill out. He was well within his rights (note, he wasn't even Arab, he was Asian, so the anti-Arab comments are misguided at best and hopelessly ignorant at worst). I really think he chose the spot to be far away from others, to not draw attention to himself and to have a quieter venue for his brief religious devotion. It's sad that this lady didn't want to allow him his freedom. I wonder if there was another middle-aged woman with folded arms, bowed head and closed eyes in the area if she would have complained. Or if a young Jewish gentleman wearing a kipa and rocking rhythmically would have unsettled her so badly. I'm guessing not. But who knows, maybe she's rabidly opposed to invoking the almighty into any part of her computing experience.
*I'm not making this up. I was asked by one guy to help delete his iPorn, though he never mentioned that it was pornography...or acted uncomfortable when I saw what he had on his iPod.
Posted by alea at 5:33 PM
So, I was doing some coursework for Instructional Strategies and was digging around in a periodical database. I came across this title:
"Instruction via chat reference: does co-browse help?"
I actually took the time to read this. It has nothing to do with my topic at hand. I'm just interested in its aboutness. You see, I work at a place that used to be part of the QuestionPoint 24/7 consortium. We dropped out in favour of IM reference, but were concerned over the loss of co-browsing. Co-browsing sucks. It's a situation in which the librarian taps in and partially takes over the patron's browser. The problems were numerous: notably that it rarely worked and the patron also had partial control meaning sometimes they would click somewhere they shouldn't.
I was never a fan of co-browsing and generally cannot say enough good about opting for IM (I could however, question the viability and effectiveness of synchronous electronic reference, but I feel that's a losing battle at this stage.) So I was curious what these people found. In brief, co-browsing was well-received, but did not impact the amount of instruction offered. (I just realized that "instruction" means something specific to librarians, but I don't feel like describing it here. Just insert what you think it means, you'll be pretty close). The article fails to address the staff end of things (i.e. how do staff feel about co-browsing?). I smell a follow-up article. I have fallen so very far. I'm actually taking LIS research seriously enough to question its assertions. It's all downhill from here.
If anyone else is interested, it's from the Reference Services Review, 2006, vol. 34, no. 3, 340-357.
Posted by alea at 11:27 PM
Edmonton has some of the strangest buskers ever. And by strange I mean bad. I know because I have seen every single busker. There are five of them, plus or minus one crazy lady. This lady stands in light rail stations and sings. But she also sings on the trains, or when she's walking downtown, or in the lobby of the downtown library. I don't know for sure that she's after cash, but people drop coins if she's stationary. She's Chinese and is always "singing" tunes that are either in jibberish or Chinese (I can't tell). These are done in traditional East Asian pentatonic style. Imagine, if you will, Björk, but Chinese. Yes, it's that wacky. Yes, it's that annoying. Yes, it's that bad.
This lady's fellow countryman sits to play his Erhu. (As of yet they have not teamed up to busk). I'm not a particular fan of this music, but it's passable. His case is open and he also apparently sells burned cds of his own music. He has humbly called these "Songs of Paradise, vol. 1" and "Sounds of Paradise, vol. 2". Not sure who the marketer there is that didn't inform him that "song" and "sound" are not exactly equivalents. He seems to do well for himself.
There's this really tall, youngish lady who is surprisingly well-groomed for a busker. She plays the guitar and sings. Very traditional. She's the best musician of all the buskers.
There's another woman who plays the guitar and sings, but poorly. She sometimes mixes it up and goes out with a keyboard or a portable xylophone. She looks downtrodden, as all buskers really should. She also looks a little crazy in that sort of the-only-job-I-can-get-in-a-market-that-is-paying-nearly -twenty-bucks-an-hour-in-fast-food-is-creative-spectacle-based-begging way. Her hair is wild, her eyes don't quite seem to focus and her clothing is tattered. If she only had musical skills, she'd be the perfect busker.
I have saved my favourite street musician for last, though. He stands in his fur-trimmed elf vest and plays a tuba. Yep...full on tuba. I've never seen someone solo on a tuba for cash before. He's pretty good, though I must admit my tuba-judging skills are iffy. He's the only guy who I give money too. I feel he deserves it, for his quirkiness if nothing else.
Posted by alea at 12:31 PM
This other example is much more minor, but also fed my frustration with my meeting docket on Sunday. I'm feeling much less maligned by my ward today than I was yesterday. Because, apparently, my friends agree that it was lame. That's enough for me.
First of all, my ward has this great Sunday School teacher. He presents intelligently designed questions and troubles a lot of simple intrepretations that people give. He's not afraid of paradox or of bringing in non-LDS perspectives to bear on the lessons. For example, he started out his latest lesson by saying, "I recently watched the film version of Camelot. In it, there's this line 'the tormented quest for perfection'. What other examples do you guys know from literature or art or film that highlight the tormented quest for perfection?" This lead to summaries of GATTACA, an anime series, a group of WWII novels about a gunner and Martin Dressler (my contribution). He then goes into the lesson material, which focused on how, through the atonement of Christ, we can have a quest for perfection that is not only tormented. This is the sort of thing I like.
So, we're discussing Isaiah 52.7:
"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!"
The discussion is pretty interesting and is going in all sorts of directions. People suggest that mountains are symbolic of holy places, that mountains provide perspective, that you cannot be a watchman on a plain and so on. Good stuff that highlight various meanings of the word choice. Then we talk about the feet and how feet are the humblest piece of man, but they're also the active component, that publishing peace is hard work and so on. I'm not sure I agree with these as reasons for Isaiah using them, but it's keeping the ball rolling.
One guy raises his hand and says, "We're missing the point. This verse is simple. It means stand in holy places. That's it."
The teacher is a little thrown off by this simplistic approach. The guy's tone of voice suggested that the rest of us were stupid for even suggesting that alternate readings were possible, let alone valuable. The teacher's response was, "well, then why didn't Isaiah just say that?"
Dude came back with the canned response, "scripture is given in parable so that only the in-tune understand and so you can learn more by each reading." Isn't this amazing? He failed to realize that his memorized response contradicted his previous comment. Astounding, really.
The teacher showed his politic side and moved on to another aspect of the lesson. I feel my rant from yesterday explains my frustrations.
Posted by alea at 3:22 PM
So, being an Elder means a couple of things in this church. You can confirm people members. You can serve a mission. You can be endowed. And, despite all efforts, you cannot for the life of you manage to bring a lesson manual to church. In our EQ this Sunday there were a total of four manuals (including the teacher). They were over 40 men present. What this means is that you get some sketchy interps of the lesson material and very few people to call the instructor out (because let's be honest, the kind of guy that bring a manual is not going to be a troublemaker). Unless he's me, of course. So, here's the quote in question:
If we had before us every revelation which God ever gave to man; if we had the Book of Enoch; if we had the untranslated plates before us in the English language; if we had the records of the Revelator St. John which are sealed up, and all other revelations, and they were piled up here a hundred feet high, the church and kingdom of God could not grow, in this or any other age of the world, without the living oracles of God.
The teacher dude summarizes this quote (without reading it aloud!) to mean that, without a prophet, men cannot know how to be saved. Now, I'm becoming well-known for my wacky (and probally incorrect/heretical) readings, but I feel like this guy is out to lunch. So I raise my hand and disagree. I read the quote aloud and then say, "it only says that the Kingdom won't grow, it never says you can't know how to be saved." He disagreed. He said something that didn't really answer my question about ordinances and how you need them. His rejoinder was lenghty.
I responded that I have no problem with needing ordinances, that's not what I'm arguing, I'm arguing that you can still know how to be saved. I thought, but did not say for fear of direct attack on my evidence that Catholics actually get what you have to do to be saved: take part in sacraments, live well and rely on God. They get it! (Well, for the most part. There are obviously problems with their system but they're pretty close.) As, in fact, do a lot of groups. I think the Buddhist that really strives to live the Eightfold Path to the best of her ability is on a pretty good track to salvation. Or the Moslem who practices the Five Pillars. Et cetera, et cetera.
Other classmates jumped in now and defended the ordinance argument, which as I said, was not in question. I'm all for ordinances and saving our dead and temples and having problems smoothed out in the Millenium and so on. I guess my point about how those on earth during the apostasty would be screwed out of salvation was taken in a very Mormon sense (they just need ordinances) and not in the sense I intended (that they were capable of attaining large chunks of gospel truth). And really the argument wasn't even about the doctrine/veracity of what was being presented (maybe you can't know salvation's story without a prophet. I doubt it, but give me a quote from the prophet on it and I'll consider it). The argument was over a misreading of the quote.
I think part of the problem is that we no longer have a sense of the "Kingdom of God" like Brother Woodruff would have. For him it was a temporal/spiritual construct that was designed to be actively built and gathered around the oracles of God. Today we talk more about a community of believers, the stakes of Zion and the progression of the work and not so much the Kingdom. We're no longer millenialists like we used to be.
The whole "discussion" bothered me for several reasons:
- I was right but not recognized as such
- people got caught up in the ordinance question, though that wasn't the issue
- people acted like I didn't have a leg to stand on and needed to be told basic gospel principles that weren't really pertinent
- people were not actually thinking about/engaging in the question, rather they gave canned answers
- the discussion suggests a lack of faith in the belief that good is found in all systems of belief
- it highlights the theological certitude that is the unfortunate result of thinking we have all truth
All these reasons add up to the one major reason why I hate Mormon meetings. We, as a people, have become theologically, spiritually and intellectually lazy in our discussion of the Gospel. The majority feels like we have the answers and they cannot change, so the same arguments and reasoning that you learned at age 12 is still valid at 22. We act like there are no legitimate questions to be raised, no issues to discuss, no possible alternate interpretations of a scripture, no areas where we can assert boldy "we don't know", no place for the inspiration of the spirit. We sit in Sunday School and Priesthood/Relief Society and hear the same lessons we've heard our whole lives. We should have questions, concerns, problems and honest confusion about some of this stuff. The Gospel is simple in application but deep in meaning. We approach it like 8th graders tackling The Scarlet Letter.
Church ought to provide the ideal environment for the doubters, for questioning, for admitting that something simply doesn't make sense to you. But most aren't going to church to learn. They're going to put on a good face and nod at the appropriate times. To build a community of believer (which I am form, though perhaps a larger community that doesn't exclude the doubters). And, in the case of singles wards, to nab a spouse (since marriage is a checkbox on the route to salvation).
These attitudes really, really pisses me off and I'm trying my best to let everyone in my ward know when I have questions, when I'm confused, when something may not be a simple as typically presented. Some people seem to enjoy this. The vast majority, though, just find me uncouth and therefore avoid me for these concerns or comments (like when I shared that testimony and testicle have the same root. There was a visible shudder).
I was already in an irritated mood, though, when this came up. Earlier someone had brought up the idea that "if the prophet says it, do it! then you'll know why." Problems here abound. Briefly: it "presupposes a spiritual laziness displeasing to God" (thanks, Alonzo Gaskill); it does not factor the role of the confirmation of the spirit into the mix; and it suggests that every time you try out council, you'll see why it was given (not so: we cannot see the end from the beginning like our Father in Heaven.) I had also raised my hand to ask why that's good advice since a gift or a prayer without real intent profiteth nothing (Moro. 7.6). The argument here was also silly and fruitless, apart from one guy who suggest a spectrum of intention.
To close this rant, two quotes. The first is the quote that we didn't get to in the EQ lesson but I wish we had. If I were the teacher, here's where the lesson would have centered. Props to WW on the phrasing "intelligent obedience".
It is necessary that all the members of the Church should exercise their powers of reason and reflection, and thoroughly understand why they take the course which God points out. Intelligent obedience on the part of His Saints is desired by our Father in Heaven. He has given us our agency to think and act for ourselves, on our own volition, to obtain a testimony for ourselves from Him concerning the truth of the principles which He teaches, and then be firm and unshaken in the performance of all which is necessary for salvation.
The second comes from Elder Widtsoe's Evidences & Reconciliations. Elder Widtsoe is my new Mormon hero. His life's goal was to show that rationality (i.e. science) and religion could work together. He argues this beautifully through several books, including E&R. This is from the 1960 version, page 16.
It is a paradox that men will gladly devote time every day for many years to learn a science or an art; yet will expect to win a knowledge of the gospel, which comprehends all sciences and arts, through perfunctory glances at books or occasional listening to sermons. The gospel should be studied more intensively than any school or college subject. They who pass opinion on the gospel without having given it intimate and careful study are not lovers of truth, and their opinions are worthless.
Posted by alea at 6:26 PM
Alberta is currently in the grips of a runaway economy. The surpluses are enormous. So big that earlier this year every Albertan (even infants if they were born before December 31st) got a $400 "prosperity check". One of the effects of this boom is that there simply are not enough workers for all the jobs. This is made abundantly clear by a fairly recent change to the minimum employment age. The government no longer requires permits for a company to hire 12-15 year olds. That's right. McDonalds is using preteens.
Somewhere, Lewis Hine is rolling over in his grave.
Posted by alea at 1:40 PM
Bishop Edwin D. Woolley got into trouble with Brigham Young for building a really fancy social hall for his ward and renting it out to nonmembers for social purposes. When he confronted and chastised Woolley for this Brigham said, "Well, I suppoe you are going to go off and apostatize."
Woolley's response is wonderful. I think I should make a sampler with this exchange on it. He said, "No, I won't. If this were your church I might, but it's just as much mine as it is yours."
(This quote captions a chapter in Adventures of a Church Historian, which I am reading right now. This book is roiling all sorts of emotions in me, including a really, really strong desire to land a job with Church History. Hopefully I can trick them into finding me qualified come April.)
Posted by alea at 8:14 PM
If you must go shopping on the Saturday previous to Thanksgiving, the grocery stores you visit will be out of the following items:
- lentils (all varieties)
- cottage cheese
- the cheap soy milk
- the chewing gum you like (Extra spearmint)
- rice in any amount other than 10 kilo bags
However, you will be pleasantly surprised to learn that there is more than enough:
- turkey (breast and whole)
- stuffing mix
- canned pumpkin
- prepared pumpkin pie
- cranberries (dried, fresh or canned)
Posted by alea at 10:51 AM
I was beginning to feel like the battered wife of François Ozon. When we first got together we had some great times. Une Robe d’Été still makes me smile every time I see it. Sitcom is wacky, but good (what’s not to love about incest, giant rodents and multiple murder?). And, naturellement, there’s 8 Women which still stands as one of my favourite films ever. But then, there was Under the Sand which was just strange but not quirky/enjoyable strange. More like head scratching/foreigner-in-Tokyo strange. Criminal Lovers creeps me out to just think of it. Swimming Pool was completely incoherent and had more topless scenes than any film I have seen. Last year, he offered 5x2, which mostly left me cold despite horrific scenes of painful divorce and marriage-night rape. I cling to the old times, back when we got along, and continue to shell out money to see each of Ozon’s offerings in turn. Less than a year after his mathematically-titled feature, Ozon has produced another film, showing just how desperately he is reaching for the Joyce Carol Oates award for Prolificacy (film division).
His latest, however, did not disappoint in the slightest. This is a film of the man I fell in love with. Time to Leave tells the story of Romain, a photographer who is unexpectedly diagnosed with highly advanced cancer and, like so many baked goods, is given an expiration date. The terminal patient dealing with cancer is so over used that even to mock it is cliché. Audiences are groomed to expect one of three outcomes: a miraculous recovery, a majestic live reversal/dying that makes the transfiguration in A Christmas Carol seem about as life-altering as a haircut, or touching scenes of reconciliation with loved ones before fading away. Ozon shies away from all these and manages to make a moving film about a complete jerk who just happens to be dying.
Supposedly this film is the second in a proposed trilogy on the theme of mourning (the first is Under the Sand). Time to Leave asks the question, how do we mourn ourselves? I don’t know that it really gets around to answering this question, but it sure beautifully hovers around Romain and his final months. From visiting his grandmother one last time to breaking up with his boyfriend, the scenes don’t quite add up to a plot. Rather they accrete around Romain whose emotional deterioration mirrors his physical corrosion.
My love for this cinematic effort may lie partially in the fact that, faced with the same trouble as Romain, I would react in exactly the same way. I would also systematically burn all my bridges. Because, like Romain (and presumably Ozon), I believe that life is not a series of memories or even accomplishments. It is an unending series of failures and the regret they entail. L’enfer may be les autres, but la vie, c’est remords.
Posted by alea at 8:56 PM
It's happened. For the first time since moving back to Edmonton, I've stepped outside into 0° weather (that's Celsius. It sounds much more dramatic than 32° Fahrenheit). This betokens the coming of the end of my happiness. Well, not really. Last year, I became accustomed to -17° as a high (which is roughly 0° F). It wasn't pleasant to wear to five layers and a scarf and a hat and gloves, but I managed. I just wasn't expecting it to come back so soon.
What's really frustrating about this is that it's 0 at 6.45 (when I leave home) and 10 by 3 p.m. (when I go home). So, while I'm not too opposed to the layering approach (undershirt, button down, cardigan, coat). I only need those four layers for the first part of the day. And then I have to schlep them all back home. I'm resentful towards nature for this extra weight it forces me to carry around. Well, that and the fact that I've got a long, hard winter ahead of me.
Posted by alea at 8:45 AM
There is an LDS bookstore here in Edmonton. One of the services they provide is the compilation of “This is the Place” which they call an “LDS-owned business and professional services guide for Northern Alberta”. This, I assume, appeals to the type of person who is only willing to buy a bed, have a spinal adjustment or purchase a car from a fellow Mormon. The guide itself is free, but it appears that people pay to have their info included.
While this idea is already a touch creepy and insular, they go even further. They have a list of top ten reasons for using “This is the Place”. They are listed in the column below to the left. My editorial comments/translations on these “reasons” are to the right.
|10. Because this directory fits right beside your ward or stake directory. It is like the yellow pages that goes with your church white pages.|
9. Because we are a “peculiar” people, with specific needs and expectations.
8. Because it’s fun to see who is doing what! Did you know that someone in your ward offered that service?
7. Because it is like getting a referral from a friend.
6. Because “This is the Place” is thinner and less confusing than the phone book.
5. Because you are building the church community in this area by supporting the businesses in this book.
4. Because the people advertising their services in this directory are just like you—trying to be the best they can be.
3. Because it is a good thing to do business with your brother or sister. We are one big family.
2. “If there is anything…of good report, praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” 13 Article of Faith. Somebody has to give the “Good Report”.
1. Because You’re worth it!
10. note: I have never seen a ward directory of this size (slightly smaller than letter paper folded in half).
9. “Uh, yeah, I need a bed that can accommodate my LDS lifestyle….” or “I’m sorry I only let the temple worthy clean my teeth.”
8. Use us to fuel the rumor mill!
7. Or getting a referral from a for-profit business. Close enough.
6. Use us because you’re stupid.
5. I have no comment to share except to say: this is creepy.
4. As opposed to every other business owner in the world that is aiming for mediocrity
3. Please don’t succumb to the foolish notion that non-Latter-day Saints are also your spirit siblings. This is false.
2. If you need a citation for the Articles of Faith, should you really even be able to read the directory?
1. I can make neither heads nor tails of this one. Does it even sequitor?
Alternatives to the cliche "recipe for disaster" that I came up with until admitting to myself that I was really just avoiding writing the paper
Posted by alea at 11:34 AM
rubric for catastrophe
schematic for cataclysm
blueprint for devastation
formula for calamity
prescription for contretemps
contrivance for apocalypse
agenda for emergency
prospectus for holocaust
design for scourge
Posted by alea at 2:11 PM
Growing up in a well-to-do suburb of Salt Lake City means several things for your Mormation. For instance, stories about being the only kid at a high school who was a member honestly make no sense to me. I may have intellecutal knowledge about that but definitely no experiential knowledge (to crib Talmage). Another thing that the geographic situation means is that few, if any, of testimony meeting offerings are heterodox. We get a lot of reasonable testimonies, a few people who just want to share stories, and so on, but we really lack the hardhitting false doctrine. (Note, this is because it's a combo of well-to-do, read educated, people and an area with a high percentage of Mormons. When my sister was living in Springville, she had the joy of learning that the Church's veracity varied on such matters as where the meetings were held. Seriously. After the wardhouse's renovations, the first meeting was a fast and testimony. Several people commented on how nice it was to be back in their chapel where they could feel the spirit again.)
My ward here is typically pretty bland when it comes to testimonies. However, yesterday we had a real treat. This guy got up and started with "This month has been the hardest one I've had in a really, really long time." This statement always frustrates me because I'm a gossiphound and really want to know what made it so bad. No, honestly such a blanket statement could mean a host of things: from all my family were killed in a drug bust to I didn't get the job I really wanted. It's vague and not in the good nouvelle vague kind of way.
So, he then goes on to say, "Then my friend shared with me a quote. I think it comes from the scriptures. It goes, 'I never said it would be easy, I only said it'd be worth it.'" I've heard jokes about this, but I didn't know it could actually happen. Granted, he's a convert (a Jew nonetheless) and may not be overfamiliar with LDS scripture. However, it doesn't even sound Biblical. I don't know why this story can't die. Plus, he said that it's really helped him to put things in perspective.
Let's back up. You're purporting to believe that your life, however terrible it may be, is equal in difficulty to the Savior's Atonement? Woah there, Messiah complex. That's a bit over the top isn't it? And besides, if you did want to compare yourself to Christ (a dicey proposition at best), why not use an actual quote, like say "let this cup pass from me, nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt"? It's not only more doctrinally sound, but it's actually from the Bible.
Barring that, we could rely on Joseph's lament and proclaim "all these things shall give thee experience and shall be for thy good". Now, the last time I was falsely imprisioned, treated roughly and being forced to hear about people who have given up everything to follow my testimony being driven forth from the homes once again, this scripture really spoke to me. As you can probably tell, I don't like it when people liken this scripture to themselves either. There seems a bit of hubris involved in making your trials out to be as bad as cruxificion or 19th Century frontier jails.
Hopefully someone will take the time to draw aside this well-meaning convert and explain to him the foolishness of his ways. I'd do it, but I don't think I could do it in a manner that would really welcome him with open arms into full fellowship in the gospel. I'm definitely not the kind of friend our leaders tell the new members they need. Or maybe I am, and we just need a different type of convert.
Posted by alea at 10:13 AM
This summer, I had the opportunity to read a couple of disturbing documents. The most appalling, though, was "For What Purpose?" by Alvin Dyer. This was given to a group of missionaries in Norway in the early 1960s. It's the source of a lot of anti-African American belief that still, sadly, floats around Mormon circles. For instance, he teaches that blacks refused the Priesthood in the pre-existence and whites accepted it. The other non-white races were less fervent either way and thus have a slightly better chance. This "doctrine" really pisses me off because it flies in the face of the LDS theology of a nonpartial God. It's predestination repacked with the little addition: they might be saveable, but they'll have a hard row to hoe in order to get there. I refuse to believe that God makes it that difficult for his children to be saved. And the notion of choice-ness without a strong dose of commesurate responsibility is a very sketchy thing indeed.
Thankfully, this document is no longer widely circulated and, from what I understand, the Church refuses to copy it. This isn't an instance, as some would suggest, of whitewashing, but rather of the Church being aware that Elder Dyer (he was an assistant to the Twelve and later Apostle--but not a member of the Twelve) had some opinions that he presented as doctrine and are false. There's no need to promulgate these horrific lies.
Elder Dyer also takes a crazily literal take on the Noah story. He spends a couple pages explaining the curse on Ham and how Japeth is the father of Europeans et alia and Shem of the Middle Easterners. Granted, I'm no literalist and am often bothered when people do take the Bible as inerrant (especially in a theology that admits errors in it!), but even still, this was way beyond your typical biblicism into a realm of pseudo-anthropology only matched by the more intense employees of FARMS.
But, these theories and opinions were not the most galling to me. I had heard these all before. What took the proverbial cake was his discussion of why there are multiple resurrections. Here, Elder Dyer taps into his background as a business executive to explain it this way: If you were to start a new business, who would you hire first? Your plebs or your managers? Obviously, the managers. So the first resurrection is for the managers to get things rolling and then the next level and so on. Essentially, the whole point of being good in this model is so you can run the orientation for the Telestial beings.
I really hate managerialism, particularly in my church, and this is a prime example. I want to be good for a multitude of reasons (fear of punishment, attaining godhood, feeling better about myself), but I have never, ever thought "I want to be good so that I can be a mid-level executive." I guess for people who think in business models this might be a useful analogy. Frankly, it loses all meaning to me in knowing that there (in the spirit world), there's going to be quite a different take on capitalism (essentially, it doesn't exist). Contributions will be equal according to the skills and abilities of the contributors. So, if someone lacks the knack for leadership but is awesome at making the clothes we'll be wearing, his contribution is just as valid. Unless, we have T&T* Industries there. Maybe that's what Dyer's after. A model in which the good get served for every need by the lower kingdoms leaving them free to "manage" as they see fit.
At any rate, I disagree. It angers and saddens me to see such things not only can be but actually are believed. It's one of those situations in which I wonder, do we really belong to the same church at all?
*Telestial & Terrestrial
Posted by alea at 2:56 PM
So, there is a mutant (of the X-Men variety) named Cypher. He was killed off when first introduced but has later been brought back in a slightly different setting. I haven't read any of his comics, but it's pretty obvious why he got killed off in the first place. He has one of the lamest mutant powers EVER. According the Marvel Directory:
Cypher was a mutant with a superhuman facility for translating languages, spoken or written, human or alien in origin.
How, exactly does that help in battles? Especially when coupled with the knowledge that "Cypher possessed the normal human strength of a young man of his age, height, and build who engaged in regular physical exercise." I mean, the following were the best I could come up with (if you imagine them in a British accent, they just get better. Sadly, Doug Ramsey is from Upstate New York.):
"You seem to have shot flames from your hands at me. In retort, I will now insult you in Classical Latin."
"Well, you may be able to fly and lift large boulders, but I can read Tocharian B!"
"Yes, Magneto, you may have just wiped all the computers in a 20 mile radius of all their programs. But the joke's on you! I can just reprogram them with my super-C++ skills."
I would feel like I've got the seriously short end of the genetic stick if I were him. Don't you think the other mutants would pick on him? I guess it's somewhat explained that he didn't know that the others living in Xavier's mansion were mutants. Really? I mean, how do you miss something like that? Didn't the freakish acts of strength, odd abilities and general superhumanity of the atmosphere give it away?
Cypher, we are told, is a Mormon (see adherents.com). My first thought upon learning this was: Is crime fighting one of those situations in which it is ok to remove garments? I then it came to me that the real questions to ask are, Does he even wear garments, i.e. Can you be an active Latter-day Saint and a superhuman crime fighter? What are the theological implications of such divisions in the children of God? Discuss.
Apparently, he gained his faith when he was reincarnated as Ultimate Cypher. Now, here's where it gets really bizarre. Said reanimation is based on Ken Jennings. Yeah, the Jeopardy guy and poster boy for Mormon geeks and geeks of other faiths. I think that's the real definition of celebrity: you get a superhero (regardless of his lameness) created based on your life. The fact that he is from Upstate New York and has a knack for languages has led him to be compared to another boy from that area known as a translator (I think it goes without saying who I mean here).
And here's where we have a perfect example of some well-intentioned members/comic fans doing a bit too much likening the scriptures and finding types. All we need now is for someone to point out chiasmus in Cypher's monologues and really seal the deal.
Posted by alea at 12:20 PM
While a student at a certain church-owned university in Utah County, my friends and I would frequently come up with funny slogans with the idea of putting said humourous statements on t-shirts. We had a lengthy list, but very few actually made it from the concept to the production phase (a notable exception was a member of the Uncalled 4's performance art/civil disobedience in regards to the uni's aggressive pro-shaving policy). One of our ideas was to make up fake courses for the religion department to teach (e.g. REL C 114: Swallowing Camels (Prerequisite REL C 112: Straining at Gnats) or REL C 350: Law Hedge Building). The other night, while in institute class the following idea came to me:
What about extending this idea and creating a type of scriptural "motto" (or anti-motto) for various departments. So of these were probably previously discussed at informal Uncalled 4 meetings, but I do think some are new.
School of Business: Fitting Camels Through Needles
Psychology: Our Thoughts Will Condemn Us
Law: All the Arts and Cunning (Alma 10.15 )
Education: Trust No Man to Be Your Teacher (Mosiah 23:14)
Graduate Studies: When They Are Learned, They Think They Are Wise
Geology: Seven Thousand Years of Earth's Continuance (D&C 77:6)
Family History: Endless Genealogies
Astronomy: Worlds Without Number
Dance: Lifting Up Unto Exceeding Rudeness (1 Nephi 18:9)
Economics: Filthy Lucre
Political Science: Rendering Unto Caesar
Linguistics: Nothing Will Be Restrained From Them,(see Genesis 11)
Philosophy: Vain Imaginations
Food Sciences: That Which Goeth Into the Mouth ( Matt. 15:11)
Clearly, these aren't complete. I welcome suggestions, improvements and so on. The only one I really want to make a shirt out of, though is Linguistics. Now, there's an allusion it'd really take a scriptorian to catch (so, did you know that "scriptorian" is a Mormon word? The OED doesn't have it and Onelook comes back saying NO dictionaries contain it. I guess we are peculiar people after all).
Posted by alea at 9:39 PM
One of the other cyncial and none too enthused students here refers to our little section of libraryland as Nerd Kingdom. Let me just say that, were we to hold some sort of ceremony in which the nerdiest of us got the title Despot, I would win hands down. In the course of one day, I uttered the following things, and not in any sort of joking manner:
"What chat client do they use?" (asked of a friend recently hired to do chat reference for another university)
"My favorite library system would have to be pre-merger Dynix. Oh, and I really hate Sirsi." (when the person who came up with the term Nerd Kingdom was joking about being asked in an interview what her favourite library system is.)
"You should have used Cutter numbers." (Response upon hearing that a fellow student's summer job in cataloguing had run into a tight spot by not expanding Library of Congress Classification widely enough.)
Yes, I am feeling like both a total loser and really, really grateful to be in a situation in which others at least know what I'm talking about, regardless of their opinions on my eagerness to discuss these items. I'd really be hating myself if I had not, just this semester heard profs say:
"Making eye contact is like giving someone the gift of your company."
"You can choose any of the topics from this list or something else. Like, if you're intensely interested in lighting that could be an option." (she was serious. it's for a 10-12 page paper.)
"One of the most exciting changes in technology from last year is the pic mute button for the projector. Now, I can mute the picture....with abandon!"
I get to nerd it up for at least eight more months. I really should soak it in while I get the chance. That, or just give in and go get the PhD so such quirks can really flourish. But that's a lot of work just to be able to idly discuss library trivia. I'll just keep on doing what I've always done: tell these sorts of stories to people who have no idea what I'm talking about and expecting them to find as much humor in them as I do.
Posted by alea at 4:20 PM
So, as I drove in my rented Toyota Yaris towards the little basement cell I call home here in Wild Rose Country, I had various thoughts, which can be broken down as follows:
1. "Oh, prairies. Eight more months of flat!" (Edmonton International is about 30 km from downtown and so you get some prime grassland viewin' on the way in).
2. "Wow, the architecture isn't any better than I remember it."
3. "There's the raw sewage smell that really makes the City of Champions feel like home."
4. "Huh, the area of town I live in is a bit dodgy after all." (I don't often get to see the boarded up butcher shops and still open peep shows-cum-adult supercenters that line the streets near my house).
5. "This apartment is smaller and much darker than I recalled." (this was momentary only).
And running through out all of these was the constant refrain: Eight More Months! Eight More Months!
I think I'll make it.
Posted by alea at 3:28 PM
When I was quite young, my family lived in Troon, Scotland. Now, I don't remember much about the whole experience, but I do remember watching and adoring Postman Pat. I cannot tell you why I liked it so much but I was a fiend for him and his black and white cat. For those unfamiliar, the series takes place in Greendale, a village that boasts one of all the essentials of life: one church (CoE, natch), one handyman (Ted Glen), one school, one mobile shop driver, one set of twins (Katy and Tom),and, of course, one postman (Pat).
I remember watching this show daily. We even had some tapes of it until our PAL-format tv gave out and we got rid of them. The animation is stop motion, and leaves a bit to be desired in these days of Pixar and whatnot. Oh, and the episodes are something around 11 minutes long. But the show still has a very special place in my heart.
Or rather did until I happened to catch a newer episode while visiting my brother in the land of the Five C's (Cattle, Citrus, Cotton, Copper, Climate). HBO imports it, apparently. I am told (both by Wikipedia and IMDb that the show has been in a continual run since I watched it back in the mid-80s (this must make it one of the all-time longest running British series ever. At least for kids. [I just discovered that Coronation Street has been running for 46 years! And that Grange Hill has PP beat by 3 years.But still.]). However, if it's really been running without hiatus what in the world went wrong?
In the newer episodes Pat is married, and has a last name (Clifton) and a child. Now, I'd never go so far as to claim that I thought Pat was gay, but surely he was a bachelor before. I mean, given the rigor of his post route and all the personal problems he solves for Greendalians, how did he find time to marry, let along sire a child? This was the first problem I stumbled across. The second was that his child's name is Julian. Now, that's not really a problem as much as it is funny. How British is that?
So the second problem (or change, if you want to be more neutral) was that the train station is run by a family of Indian extraction. Ok, I'm cool with curry, Bollywood, and devanagari script but why the random insertion into Greendale? The villagers seem very friendly to them, but surely this is just a weak attempt as multiculturalism. I understand the cultural milleu of England and the large Indian population, but in a village where it's questionable if they've ever seen a Frechman, it raises eyebrows. How did this family end in the quiet glen? What is their backstory? Being a children's program, Postman Pat does not need to answer these questions. But the inclusion of Ajay et al really puzzles me.
Lastly, and perhaps most galling of the major changes, is the switch to a new theme song. The old one was catchy, peppy and optimistic (I mean, it may really be knock, ring, letters through your door). Now, the song is much softer. It sounds more like something that old people want piped into their elevators rather than a rousing intro to the not-so-wacky adventures of a small town postman.
So I'm left to lament the continued assault on all things my pre-kindergarten self held dear. I should mention that, while the show itself has become corrupted, the animation is worlds ahead these days (the characters can move their mouths, eg). I guess I should just cherish my memories, buy the dvds of the mid-80s version and count my lucky stars that the same folks who suggested the minority station master didn't demand a switch to Postperson Pat.
Posted by alea at 9:09 AM
1. we put a lot of trust in our fourteen year-olds
2. while the JetStar II can fit three people in the middle car, this presupposes one is Ms. Lohan in the height of her Skeletor phase, or at the very least, a consumptive in the final throes
3. #2 is really an extension of the fact that, if you ever want to feel out of place, you should visit an amusement park in an odd-numbered group
4. people actually do throw up on rides (and it takes longer than you'd think to cleanit up)
5. not only do people spend money on midway games, one staffer has seen a man spend fifty dollars on a toss game before giving up
6. the Icee costs less than the Frozen lemonade, and is essentially the same thing
Posted by alea at 10:51 AM
I recently discovered that I have, once again, failed to correctly parse something in my native language. It's the hymn "There is a Green Hill Far Away". In it, the third verse reads:
There was no other good enough enough to pay the price of sin
He only could unlock the gate of heaven and let us in
I have always understood this to mean something along the lines that even Jesus could not cover our sins but merely create the tools that we needed in order to work out our own salvation (I believe in nothing if not salvation by work. Really hard work.) Apparently, the majority of people disagree with me and frankly think I'm a bit touched to read it this way. They see it to mean that Jesus was the only one good enough to have wrought what he did. One more proof that English, while native to me, does not always think like I do.
My reading makes so much more sense, though, doctrinally, doesn't it? I mean, we don't believe in salvation by grace alone, which the standard reading seems to imply. So I did a bit of poking around. The solution lies in the fact that, barring postmortal acceptance, Cecil Frances Alexander is no Mormon. She (that's right, a woman named Cecil!) was a British Protestant who wrote songs for her Sunday School class. So, she's all about sola gratia.
I appreciated this quote from Karen Lynn Davidson's Our Latter-day Hymns:
Mrs. Alexander did not ever travel in the Holy Land. Those who have been to Judea will have noted the absence of anything like the "green hill" of the hymn's first line; such hills are more typical of Mrs. Alexander's native Ireland. But the doctrinal truths of the hymn are more important than its correlation with geographical reality.
Right. No need to be accurate or anything. It's not like the Bible is the inerrant word or God for her. Oh, wait. Sola scriptura. Oh well. A for effort.
I think I'll just stick to my parsing though. It reminds me of the just how far I'll fall short of salvation.
Posted by alea at 9:51 AM
One of my favorite bits of librarianship is the waiting. Not that I'm just an incredible patient person who adores doing nothing, but librarian waiting (wouldn't it be lovely if we were German and could use "Bibliothekarwartend"?) isn't really doing nothing. It's a fine balance between doing a nothing-something so your boss thinks you're hard at work, doing a something-something so your work gets done and doing a nothing-nothing so that patrons feel comfortable approaching you. After a good three years of desk work, I think I'm just starting to get this the whole thing down.
Surfing is probably the best way to wait. However, there is simply not enough interesting content added to the internet daily to allow for four of five hours of browsing. Or maybe there is, but you run into some problems: a. finding it, b. ensuring it's appropriate for viewing at work (nothing says "do not approach me" like a librarian checking out the new Bel Ami line at the desk), and c. keeping from laughing so hard you cry. I ran afoul of this last problem earlier today.
I was sitting at the phones on the reference desk. This means minimal patron contact, but still a very visible pressence. I decided to catch up on what used to be my religious reading of Go fug yourself , a blog whose writers are cattier than a gay bar on Oscar night. It's a delightful little piece of internet brilliance, and is very funny. Personally, I find it very difficult not to break into peals of raucous, completely inappropriate guffawing.
Now, a smart person at this point would turn to something else, but not me. I decided to keep going. Which I did, and ended up with tears running down my face and a lip that was quite well-chewed.
Another good use of time, of course, is to read a book. People think this is what librarians do all day. That is simply not true. Sometimes we read about a book. Sometimes it's an article (thanks in no small part to full-text databases). Occasionally, we may even read a newspaper. But, surely we do not spend our days reading books. The main problem here is that reading non-computerized stuff runs counter to our three-fold plan. It looks to your boss like you're slacking off (you are), it makes patrons think you don't want them to approach (you don't), and, the books you want to read are rarely the ones that you aresupposed to read (thus, not getting work done).
So that's out. There are other options: staring off into space, twiddling your thumbs, imagining scenarios in which particularly annoying patrons get their cumeupance, more useful tasks like familiarizing yourself with the reference collection and policies of your library, or, obviously, helping to create meaningless internet content through your blog.
I like this waiting because I'm not particularly accountable for my time and, being the new guy, I can look and act helpless and not be shamed for being lazy or clueless. But it does take some time to figure out how to wait effectively. I think we need a course in this at library schools. We can even give it a boring title and make it official sounding. LIS 539: Time Management for the Information Professional.
Posted by alea at 4:50 PM
21.26. Spirit Communications
Enter a communication presented as having been received from a spirit under the heading for the spirit (see 22.14). Make an added entry under the heading for the medium or other person recording the communication.
Which leads me to ask, shouldn't the D&C actually be under the name Jehovah (or Alpha and Omega, or the Lord, or whatever His authorized form is)? Unfortunately, it's just classed as a spiritual work and the main entry is the title.
That link to 22.14 is the rule that reads
Librarians are cool.